to help you land the job you want
- Look at an interview as a chance to see if the job's a good match with your professional self - your talents, experience, goals and values. Be yourself - don't try too hard to impress. You have as much to offer a company as they have to offer you.
- Keep your mojo up. Yes, the job market's still not great (getting better, though), but you have a lot to offer, so focus on your talents! The more confident and positive your attitude, the better chance you have of getting offers.
- Prepare like crazy. Google the employer and look at sites like glassdoor.com to find out as much as you can about the company, think about how to communicate your skills and experience that fit the job, and of course dress professionally and bring hard copies of your resume and reference list.
- Think of (short) stories about your relevant accomplishments in recent positions. A time when you handled conflict, when you juggled priorities, when you saved the company money or time, when you worked well as part of a team, etc. These are questions you'll probably be asked in interviews. And if your brain short-circuits and you can't think of an answer to a question, it's okay to think a few moments before answering, or ask to come back to it.
- Be clear about why you're interested in the company. And not because you heard they have a foosball table in the breakroom, or because they're a block from your house. Maybe you've heard they're a company that values creativity, or they're starting a new project that excites you, or they're environmentally conscious. Talk about why you're enthusiastic about working there.
- Be courteous to everyone. We've all heard stories about applicants who didn't get an offer because they were snide to the receptionist. And you might be riding up in the elevator with the hiring manager. So be nice to everybody!
- Focus on how your experience and talents can (mutually) benefit the company. Employers are mostly concerned about how you can help them solve their problems, increase business, etc.; though they also want you to be satisfied with the job too, so you don't bolt after three months.
- Ask thoughtful questions. An interview should be more like a conversation than an interrogation. In addition to questions about the company's priorities, long-term goals, and exciting projects in the works, and specific questions about the position that haven't already been covered, here's a good question to ask: "What are the most important qualities you're looking for in a candidate?"
- Get everyone's contact info. Make sure you have the correct name (and spelling), phone and email for everyone who interviews you, so you can follow up with thank you notes (emails are usually best).
- Relax. Job-hunting is stressful, and it's natural to be nervous in an interview. But keep in mind the purpose of an interview is to see if you and the job/company are a good fit. The people you're chatting with are HR reps and hiring managers - they're not a firing squad. If you don't get an offer, then it's not the right job for you, and your job is coming!
For more in-depth info on interviewing, check out our Interviewing workshop.